Sept. 25-Oct. 1, 2023 Marco Simone Golf & Country Club, Rome, Italy

Brooks Koepka is relishing his new role in the American team room as he tees off his second Ryder Cup in a very different position to two years ago.

When he arrived at Hazeltine in 2016 as a rookie, he was 22nd in the Official World Golf Ranking with four Challenge Tour, one European Tour and one US PGA Tour win to his name.

He arrives at Le Golf National as the World Number Three and a three-time Major winner – the two-time reigning US Open and reigning US PGA Championship winner.

To say Koepka's standing has changed since claiming three points from four matches in Minnesota would be an understatement but the 28 year old is not shying away from his new place in the game.

“I think any time you can play an important role in winning a Ryder Cup, I think that's what everybody wants,” he said. “Everybody wants that putt to win the Ryder Cup or to win your match or whatever the case might be, or on the sideline cheering the guys on.

“You've got to be a good team-mate and you've got to be ready for anything this week. You don't know what's going to come at you but I'm excited. I'm excited for the role, a little different role than I've had in the last one and we're looking forward to it. I'm ready to get started. 

“The first one, you're a little bit shy and you don't want to say anything and kind of get off to the wrong start but now I'm definitely more comfortable with the guys, especially the Captains and Vice Captains, because it's been pretty much the same guys for the last few years.

“I can definitely voice my opinion or who I think I should play with or strategy or things like that. It's definitely gotten a lot easier.”

Koepka has played Le Golf National once before at the 2014 Open de France when he missed the cut but he does not think that will have much bearing this week with a different course set up.

“I remember everything,” he said. “The golf course definitely doesn't play this hard in the French Open. 

“The rough's juicy. You miss just off the fairway and everything seems to grow right into you so it's hard to advance the ball, hard to get a good lie. Anything you can really advance to the green and then you miss it even further, you're in the fescue and you can barely advance it there.

“So hitting fairways is a premium and you kind of position yourself from there.”

Dustin Johnson arrives in Paris having just regained the World Number One spot from Justin Rose after a strong finish at the US PGA Tour's Tour Championship on Sunday.

He got his first look at the Albatross Course on Monday and agrees with Koepka that accuracy off the tee will be key this week.

“There's some long holes but a lot of the par fours, they are not too long but they play longer because they limit how far you can hit your tee balls.

“But around here it's all about getting it in the fairway. You don't have to hit driver a lot of holes. Most of them really don't let you hit a driver, the fairways are really narrow where driver would go.

“If you hit quality iron shots off the tee or three woods you still can get some short irons in your hands but you have to play from the fairway.”


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